Saints usually come in the form of nuns, priests, or popes who are models of virtue and holiness, but Lino Rulli, host of The Catholic Guy Show on SiriusXM Radio, feels that Catholics might benefit from being able to relate to a more normal saint--an everyday, regular guy who makes mistakes and can laugh at them--a guy just like him, actually. And he’s applying for the job.
In the follow up to Sinner: The Catholic Guy's Funny, Feeble Attempts to Be a Faithful Catholic (Servant Books, 2011), the author puts himself on the sainthood track with Saint: Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away (Servant Books, Sept.). The book includes humorous personal stories and reflections to encourage Catholics who have strayed from the church or who are just “normal people trying to be Catholic,” Rulli tells PW. “I’m the guy you went to high school with, or met at the bar, and also who you saw at Mass Sunday morning.” Why is it always such a surprise that devout people also can be fun, he wonders?
“We need to talk about the stupid things we do and the sins in our lives,” he says. Rulli’s hope is that being honest and having a sense of humor will allow people to realize they aren’t alone--and that maybe they’re not as “bad” as they thought.
What about those who don’t like to laugh about religion and who feel that sarcasm is too flip for such a serious topic? “I really don’t care,” says Rulli. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, “but sometimes some people are just nuts,” and there is a good chance they were nuts before religion entered the conversation. “Most people have a sense of humor,” he says. “The people in church who can be very devout, but be fun too, have inspired me the most.”
One person Rulli particularly admires, for example, is Pope Francis. “You can’t go anywhere without people talking about the pope,” he says. The pontiff’s recent comments criticizing the church for focusing too much on issues like gay marriage, abortion, and contraception generally have won approval. Rulli was at a recent concert where someone said, “I love this pope.” He notes, “Usually not the words you hear at a Metallica show.” In the wake of the pope’s comments, another concert-goer apologized for anything bad he’d ever said about the church.
While he’s pleased at that positive reaction, Rulli points out that the pope really isn’t saying anything new. “Christians have mixed up the message so much over the years that it’s weird now to hear that we’re into love and mercy.” Pope Francis is just an authentic Christian walking the walk instead of just talking the talk, Rulli says.
Popes aside, can a “screw-up” like Rulli get into heaven, maybe even be a saint? He thinks so.